How To Be Queen For A Life

When I was born, my paternal Grandmother Edith christened me, “Jean The Queen”.  I had two older brothers and would eventually have another one.  So I was a gift.

From time-to-time, my mother would re-tell the story of how my grandmother exhalted me to, I suppose, remind me of my specialness.

She always liked to recount how when I was born, after having two boys and so longing for a girl, her long-time doctor came in to the recovery room, squeezed his hands around her two feet and chirped, ‘You got your girl!’

As a child, Shy and introverted, even though I liked to dress up like a princess I felt far from a queen.   When a boy in middle school began to follow me around calling me ”Jean The Queen”, that just scared me; how did he know my grandmother?

I grew up in the Detroit area, where there was a famous female dj by the name of Martha Jean Steinberg–or Martha ‘Jean The Queen’.

Later on when I started listening to her show I realized where the boy got the “queen” bit.  This queen had a commanding and powerful voice.  And since WJLB had the best soul and R&B dance music-I got pretty familiar with Martha J-to-the-Q myself!

Perhaps my aristocratic longings back then were due to escape the loneliness of being the only girl in the family–the downside of being the queen.  (I’m sure Elizabeth the First could relate.)


Maybe that’s what my grandmother intended when she christened me the ‘Queen’.  To inspire strength, leadership.  Or, simply to be a great lady.

No jewel encrusted slippers for her!  This Mennonite raised, former English teacher was a kind of natural woman.  In her neatly pressed cotton shirtdresses,  her gray hair in a bun, makeup-free, wearing orthopedic shoes for her painful hammer-toed feet, she possessed her own type of quiet strength and presence.


To be ‘queenly’ is to recognize one’s divine power. (I read that somewhere.) Think of Dana Elaine Owens.  Better known as Queen Latifah.


When I’m feeling a Eliza Doolittle, I have to think of my Grandmother and how she viewed me, the only girl in the family, as the jewel in the crown.  And, I love her for it, and remember to honor my power and share my gifts.

Do you have a special given nickname that has influenced how you feel about yourself?

Share your ‘gift’ in a comment below.

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